Japanese auto makers, their sales idling here and abroad, may soon be casting a wary eye on the ad agency relationships once viewed as sacrosanct. Already, import car makers including Honda, Toyota and Nissan have begun to mix their brand building efforts with enough price messages to muddy their images. And as the pressure to build sales mounts, some think no aspect of the advertising program – even long-held agency partnerships – will escape scrutiny. ‘I think with their backs to the wall they’re going to have to take a very hard look at things,’ said Tom Healey, director/media and advertising at J.D. Power and Associates, the Agoura Hills, Calif.-based automotive research firm. ‘If they find inefficient practices or lack of will to economize it could very well lead to agency reviews.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)